Monday, September 20, 2010

A New Commitment

I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at creating margin in my life. If I have free time, I try to find things to do to fill it. I have work commitments, school commitments, family commitments, friend commitments...and they all take up most of my waking hours. In the middle of all that stuff, I rarely just take the time to sit, to be still, and to breathe. And, when I do those things, there is a part of me that feels so guilty - because there is so much I should be doing. I should be meeting more friends, taking more walks, working out more - I should be a better wife, a better friend, and a better daughter.

Somehow I've bought the lie - the lie that what makes me a better person is more time commitments to more things. To be a better wife to my husband, I need to commit more time to just the two of us, in addition to my other commitments. To be a better friend, I need to spend more evenings and lunches with them, in addition to my other commitments. To be a better daughter, I need to go home and visit my family more, in addition to my other commitments. And so, I do more. I add to the schedule more date nights, desserts with friends and long trips home and think that will somehow make me better.

The reality is so the opposite! What I find is when my schedule is full and I don't have any time to breathe, I am not a better anything. I am more quick to anger, slow to love, unwilling to forgive, unable to accept forgiveness. What I am learning is that to be a better version of myself, it is not about adding to my schedule, it's about rearranging my schedule. If I feel like I need to spend more time with my husband, I need to do that instead of something else. Being with friends means that I may have to give up time committed to other things. If I want to go home more and share in the life of my family, I need to do that - at the expense of something else.

Those decisions are hard. I hate to say no to people. I hate to not do something and not be with someone. I hate feeling like I'm disappointing someone when I have free time. If I can sit and just watch a movie, then I should have time to do something with a friend or go home or...

...see how that works? See how easy it is to make saying no sound bad? But what if that is something I really need - to just sit and watch a movie, read a book, or enjoy the silence? What if creating that margin in my life will allow me to spend more time with everyone in my life that is important to me? What if saying no to the things that control my life means I can spend time with the people that I want to be in my life?

So today I'm making a pledge. I am making a new commitment, even though it's the oldest commitment of all - I am giving myself permission to breathe, to say no, and to create margin in my busy life. Even if it means that work projects take a little longer and I don't manage that 4.0. Even if that means I don't schedule something every single night of the week. Even if that means I do nothing. Will you join me?

2 Spout:

Emily this will go well with my challenge in my next post. Stay tuned.

How's the first week going? How did you create margin in your life and what difference did it make?

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